Beware of the wrath of leopard printed dupatta wearing daadis– kiya pata unko kab kiya bura lag jaye, unleashing their inner tigress without any warning! Just ask Aunn. Aaj tau jitni uski pitai hui hai, jitni besti kharab hui hai utni tau shayad hi kisi ki hui hogi. Lulled into a false sense of belief, ke he was the apple of her eye, he had never paid attention to the significance of his daadi’s choice of head coverings. He thought no matter what he did, or badly he faltered, she was the person he could always rely on to stand by his side…. after all hadn’t she been the one to take on his boss when she thought he was ill-treating her grandson?!
Well guess again! Aaj tau Aunn sahab ke hosh thikaaney aagaye… not just daadi, but even his beloved sadqe waari going phupo, both beat him up black and blue. Wonder of wonders, even his previously balaaein leti Ammi refused to come to his aid, rather she just stood there and in fact egged the other two ladies on! Kiya zamana aa gaya hai? Did somebody say child abuse?!
I specifically use the term “child” abuse because that’s what Aunn exactly is – a child. Firstly going along with Manzar’s stupidder than stupid plan, to escape what he had previously thought of as the suffocating affection of the womenfolk in his family, he picked a random girl and announced that he wanted to marry her. Once that rishta got pukka, he developed cold feet and was ready to call it off. Later, forgetting that he had almost walked away from it all, he convinced himself that he was in love with Zara and vice versa. Then to top it all of, it took over a month, thanks in no small part to Pir Manzar’s idiotic mashwaras, before this anokha ladla’s marriage was finally consummated. And, barely had the dust settled on his own valima, ke Aunn sahab decide ke he was now mature enough to play matchmaker between Shehna and Manzar, leading to a whole other round of misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
Throughout this entire saga, Aunn has never, not even once, stepped out of his of me-myself-and-I world to take a second look at those near and dear to him.
Never has he paused long enough to see the tears behind Husna’s smile, or the loneliness underlying daadi’s incessant chatter, or the brittleness of Nighat’s chulbula facade. No, he remains blissfully unaware of everything, always a taker never the giver. Even as he lay in bed nursing his bruised ego, not once did he spare a thought to the underlying cause of the whole shebang. To a large extent, the fault lies with his overprotective family. In their efforts to shield him from the harsh realities of life, they have gone too far the other way. Now, all Aunn can think of is how he’s been wronged, and going by by his fierce expressions in the car, this guy will probably not rest till he’s taught his family a lesson. Sigh!! Ni Aunn tu kab bara hovega?!
While Aunn-Zara is a thought provoking commentary on how we as a culture tend to be over-protective and over-indulgent parents, hindering rather than helping our children mature and evolve into responsible and productive adults, what I am thoroughly enjoying here is the way a serious subject has been skilfully packaged under the guise of humor. Daadi’s non-stop threats and abuses were just fabulous! Zara and Husna’s conversation, both talking at cross-purposes, was brilliantly done. Manzar of course is in a class all his own. I now understand why he and Aunn are best friends – both are equally shallow and self-centered. Rather than being concerned about Shehna’s plight and what Aunn was going through with his family, all he could think about was pushing his case to Shehna. Manzar, ni Mazar, tu ab bas baaz aajaa!
In a story that pokes fun at the non existent concept of private space in our social setup, it is hilarious how everybody here knows everybody else’s business. Aunn and Manzar have no secrets from each other. Shehna and Zara share every little private detail, Nigo has no qualms about eavesdropping, Zara wastes no time in reaching conclusions after she spies on her dad gup-shupping with phupho, and even our very private fauji sahab has a crony who is allowed to dig around in his private affairs!! And then Aunn has the temerity to complain about lack of privacy and wails about chhapaas?? Kaun kis se kiya shikwa kare, yahan tau sab hi ek se barh kar ek hain!
It is Faiza and Haissam’s particular blend ghum and khushi and tears and laughter that makes Aunn Zara stand out among the rest. Each and every character has a story to tell, and telling it ever so beautifully are the very talented cast members. Magnificently led by Nasreen Qureshi’s off the charts performance (wonder how many Rooh Afza glasses for this much energy?), this was a lovely episode that worked on many levels. Osman was fabulous as the bewildered Aunn, still clueless about how much of a royal mess he’s managed to make of his life. Hina was exquisite as the tortured Husna. Sabreen was a lot of fun as the OTT Nigo who decided to let it all out – pata nahin kis kis ka ghussa nikala becharey Aunn par! Adnan Jaffer was as immaculate as ever as Jamshed sahab. A little lost among these, Zara’s laughter at Aunn’s misery was not only cruel, but overdone as well; though she is makes a good Zara, Maya needs to continue polishing her acting skills.
In an otherwise immaculate episode, two things didn’t gel quite as well. The restaurant scene, though funny, was not only too long but also a bit absurd. All those guests just looking around, and not one person got up to inquire, neither did the management to step in? I didn’t quite buy that one. Later, while Aunn was nursing his injuries in the bedroom, his face looked pretty beaten up, but when he went to work the next day his face was absolutely clean… kaisey?
Written by SZ~